International Development Law

International Development Law

What is International Development Law?

International Development Law focuses on using the law to improve social and economic development in the international sphere.  More specifically, international development concentrates on improving the political, human, economic, and social conditions of life for all in alleviating poverty and improving education, creating access to healthcare, providing jobs and economic and infrastructure stability and development.

What do International Development lawyers do?

Lawyers in this field of practice are involved in a range of duties across various settings. International Development lawyers work in NGOs, government agencies, non-profit organizations, or law firms and consulting groups. Lawyers provide legal education workshops to citizens in other countries. They are also frequently involved in regulatory and policy development, drafting, and implementation.

Advocacy and litigation is another important aspect of International Development practice. Advocacy work can take various forms; it can take place in the court, or be accomplished through campaigns correcting certain rights violations that may have occurred on an infrastructure project or the use of the media to bring attention to wrongs done by governments or corporations. Through litigation, lawyers help to settle disputes involving issues such as corporate responsibility, conflict of interest, sustainable development, sovereign immunity, concession disputes and expropriation. Most international development disputes, however, are resolved not by the national and international courts, but rather by alternative dispute resolution mechanisms including arbitration.

International Development lawyers are also involved in transactional and corporate work, providing advice to clients on applicable laws and regulations, permitting and licensing, organization of the project, corporate issues including shareholders and project boards, negotiating and drafting of the project documents, corporate responsibility and intellectual property rights.

How do I enter this field?

So, what do you do if you want a practice in international development law?  How do you get started?  Of course, your law school courses can and will help you prepare.  Law students interested in the field of International Development should participate in clinical and pro bono programs to demonstrate their interest, whether it is in the area of citizen empowerment, sustainability, or community development. Although serving on the editorial board of an international law journal or law review is not required for a position with most international organizations, doing so can allow students to demonstrate their knowledge of scholarly issues in the development field and to improve their chances of landing a competitive position with the U.S. government or an NGO. The more that students are able to show their interest and passion for emerging issues such as democracy building, humanitarian assistance, food and water security, and environmental sustainability, the better their chances will be of doing well on an interview, or in response to employer questions.  Additionally, most law schools have international journals or human rights journals that can allow students to learn about of importance to them in their future careers. Finally, working in a research position with a member of the faculty is another way to develop expertise while developing a relationship for future mentoring or a reference for a future job.

Once you graduate, take the bar, and, can practice law, you will find that international development law positions can be found at a variety of different organizations.  For example, international development lawyers can be found in advocacy groups, corporate legal departments, federal, state and local government, and, of course, law firms, both large and small.

Representative Opportunities

Once you have earned your degree and license to practice, where do you start your practice?  At an NGO?  In a small firm?  At a large firm?  The variety of choices can be overwhelming.  Below please find a few examples of the different types of opportunities which can be found in this practice area:

However, if you do not see an opportunity which you think would be the best fit for your experience in this short list, please review our complete list of open opportunities here.  Lexacount Search has the best Legal Search Consultants who can assist you in finding the perfect match for you and your career.  Our legal recruiting team will take the time to get to know you, your experience, and your goals. With our well-rounded research, we will assist you at every step of the law firm hiring, giving you the best advantage.

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Are you interested in a legal career with an international development practice?  Do you want more information about a law practice in international development and international trade?  Do you need some assistance in improving your interview persona for an international development / trade attorney position?  If so, contact a Legal Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Legal Group.  Alternatively, if you are a finance or accounting professional looking for new position or if you are interested in learning more about finance and accounting industry opportunities, contact a Finance/Accounting Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Finance Group.  Or, if you need assistance with your career choices and development, contact a Career Counselor with Lexacount Search’s Career Consulting Services.



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